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Tale of Two Cities Analys


Government has been an essential part to any civilization for
as long as human kind has existed. People who disagree with the
government have also existed for just as long. Whether the the
government was so simple that the leader was the strongest in
the tribe, or whether the government was so complex that it
involved thousands of people to make one decision, it always
was challenged and eventually changed. The means of change are
quite diverse. Assassination, protests, war, petitions, and
more are amongst the large list of means for governmental
reform. Revolution has also been a frequent method to try to
achieve the desired change. Revolutions have made profound
impacts in history, for both the better and for the worse.
Charles Dickens is among those who believe revolution is not a
efficient means for change of government, or social reform. His
classic novel, A Tale Of Two Cities, clearly and profoundly
shows the negative impacts of revolting against the government,
to the ! reader. He also shows the reader that there is a
better way to improve the government. That better way is illustrated
through Sydney Carton. He not only becomes an unexpected hero in A Tale
Of Two Cities, but he also symbolizes Charles Dickens solution to
achieving social reform.
Sydney Carton first entered the story as a lonely man.
Appearing rather insecure and having low self esteem, his role
in the story was unknown to the reader. He seemed to only be
focused on helping others. One late night with his colleague,
Mr. Stryver, Cartons basically pathetic demeanor was
confronted, ^Carton, addressed his friend... ^your way is, and
always was, a lame way. You summon no energy and purpose.
(Dickens, A Tale Of Two Cities, 95). Then later that night ,
Climbing into a high chamber in a well of houses, he threw
himself down in his clothes on a neglected bed, and its pillow
was wet with wasted tears (97). Both are examples of Cartons
character. Most view him as a loser. Mr. Stryver, with the
assistance of a little alcohol, clearly made that point, and
sadly enough Carton realized it. At that moment he finally
realized who he was becoming, and it depressed him beyond
words. At that moment a new Carton emerged. This new Carton was
someone who cared! for others. He wanted people to think that
his actions were motivated by simply wanting to make a difference in
the lives of those he cared for. One person he deeply cared for was
Lucie Manette. She eventually became his motivation to change and
renew his own life.
As the story progressed Carton obviously changed, and
consequently became the hero. At the beginning of the book he
was angry at the world and quite lonely too. Life for him
revolved around his work, and everything else did not really
matter. Until Lucie Manette entered his life. Immediately after
meeting Lucie his was a changed man. Thinking only of her, he
made it very clear that he loved her and cared for her, For
you, and for any dear to you, I would do anything (156).
Professing that he would do anything for her, or for those she
loved, one could almost say that he was resurrected through
her. Another example of the new Carton was seen many years
later. Walking through France, he begins to quote a biblical
passage, I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord;
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he
live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die,
(308). This not only was comfort for him in a rather dark, and
evil environment,! but it was Dickens way of reminding the
reader that one could become changed, or resurrected. In this case
that one person being Carton. Dickens finally reveals the heroic
Carton, and the last step of change, at the end of the story. Through
Cartons love for Lucie that evolved throughout the story, he
sacrifices his life to save another's. Carton trades places with
Darnay, who is soon to be executed, resulting in Darnay becoming free,
and Carton being killed. This act was symbolic for Dickens idea on how
to achieve true reform.
In the nineteenth century, literature was a way to share your
ideas. Dickens took full advantage of that. A Tale Of Two
Cities was his method to share with the reader his ideas about
government, and social reform. He first addressed that
revolution was not a way to change. Time and time again Dickens
revisited the horrifying, yet true consequences of the French
Revolution. The guillotine was a prime example of the horrors
revolution brought. Imposed by the people to gain vengeance on
the aristocracy, it became more of a symbol of death than a
symbol of revenge, ... eleven hundred defenseless prisoners of
both sexes and all ages had been killed by the populace...
(267). Eleven hundred innocent people killed in a revolution
that was meant to punish a few, and to change a country.
Dickens saw this evil, and more in the French Revolution.
However Dickens did have a better solution for governmental
change, and that was seen through Sydney Carton. As problems
arose Carton solved ! them through self sacrifice. At the end
of the book, he saw the predicament that Darnay, and his family, were
in. Darnay was finally sentenced to be beheaded, and there was no more
escaping it. Remembering his promise to Lucie, years before, Carton
realized that sacrificing his life, in place of Darnays, was the only
solution. Revealed as Carton and Darnay were swapping places, Carton
dictates a letter for Darnay to write, If you remember, the words that
passed between us, long ago, you will readily comprehend this when you
see it...... the time has come, when I can prove them. That I do so is
no subject for regret or grief (344) This, nonetheless, was the pure
essence of what Dickens believed caused change. Dickens thought the
flaw in society was their greed and selfishness. And to change this he
knew that the opposite characteristics needed to be present. People
needed to have so much love for something that they were willing to
make sacrifices for it, just like Carton an! d his love for Lucie. In
essence Dickens wanted to share that self sacrifice for the greater
good was the true solution to social and governmental reform.
Sydney Carton had many roles in A Tale Of Two Cities. He first
was the character that seemed to be left out, and forgotten.
Then because of a variety of exterior motives, he began to
change. Slowly at first, realizing who he was, and making the
conscious choice to change. Then he changed unmistakable, and
rather incredibly to become the indisputable hero. In the end
he made the ultimate sacrifice, his life, for a better future
for the ones he cared for. Dickens used Carton to show how
change could be achieved. He knew that change would never be
accomplished through revolution. In the book, Dickens clearly
showed that revolution only lead to more problems. Dickens knew
that change would only be accomplished if those wanting change
were willing sacrifice personal gain to achieve their goals. If
not, change would never be fully attained, and greed and
corruption would flourish placing reform into a realm where it
could never be grasped.


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